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Previously, in Part I, we ...

-  celebrated record turnout in 2008 that elected the first black President, produced a 60 vote Democratic majority in the US Senate and expanded our House majority by 21 seats,
-  bemoaned the turnout in 2010, an off-presidential-year election with many fewer young and new voters, seniors who reversed themselves and voted Republican and, as for women, only 1% more of whom voted for Democrats than for Republicans, a 7 point drop from 2008,
-  regretted 2010's wave election -"wave", hell, it was a tsunami!- that seriously eroded the Senate's Democratic majority, returned House leadership to Republicans, undermined President Obama's ability to get a second two years of progress and is impeding our ability to prevail in 2012 because so many seats have to be regained,
-  realized that the polarization occurring in the halls of Congress and in many state capitols reflected an American electorate with a increased ratio of two conservatives to every one liberal, as Republicans turned more solidly Farther Right and a fifth of all Democrats considered themselves "conservative," and
-  worse, the Great Middle - independents, moderates, undecideds - is polling as more Right-leaning, with only about 10-15 per cent of potential voters declaring themselves to be unaffiliated.
So, what's ahead for Democrats?

2012 WILL BE
A VERY
CLOSE
ELECTION


In this post, I resolve not to reduce Republicans to being mean-spirited or hostages to theologians or even corporate tools. And I am definitely not going to characterize those who might vote Republican as "low information voters", so very tempting as that is. For two reasons ...

Strategically, we have an uphill job of advocacy ahead. People cannot be bludgeoned into or out of voting, much less into voting our way. If we insult even the least of them, we may well be judged adversely who some who might otherwise be convinced to vote for Democrats - whether they be Republicans with second thoughts, or middle-of-the-roaders, or even Blue Dog-style Democrats leaning toward conservatism. It'll be too close an election to lose a soul who might come with us.

The other less selfish reason is that every one of us wants to be treated as thoughtful and reasonable, not stupid or unwise. Those we respect as individuals, maybe we can engage them in conversations that will make us all better people. For much as it hurts to admit it, we, too, can be cock-sure, overbearing, thoughtless and unwise in our own way.

The State of the Economy.  The pundits' meme du jour is that the economy will be The Overriding Factor in 2012. Moreover, it can turn suddenly, just as it did in September 2008 to Barack Obama's very considerable electoral benefit. So far this year, Obama's favorability is being buoyed by small and tentative upticks in growth, downticks in unemployment and a rising stock market. Debatable though the linkage is for presidential credit or blame for the economy, James Carville was right: it's the economy that affects voter sentiment. In fact, it dominates it.

A recent New York Times interactive feature illustrates how according to Nate Silver’s projections, a stalled economy would make Obama vulnerable to all four GOP candidates and an underdog to Romney most of all, whereas GDP growth this year of, say, 2.5% would make Obama a 60% likely winner. Plug your own views into NYT's display and watch the influence Nate projects economic news will have on election results. Sure, some will argue it's a ouija board business of predictions, but Nate is awfully good at what he does.

Bottom line: the Republicans will almost certainly stress a moribund economy as Obama's biggest fault ... almost no matter how the economy is actually doing as election day nears. Can this be a winning theme for them? The downturn, along with a rapidly burgeoning deficit and unpaid-for programs and tax cuts, undeniably began in Bush's second term. House Republicans, in particular, defeated or discouraged many attempts to stimulate the economy, for example, through infrastructure spending in Obama's time. A lot depends on the ability of Obama and Democrats to demonstrate why the GOP has no high ground on these issues. This is obviously why the "Washington-is-broken" theme needs to be narrowed and laid where it belongs, at the feet of the Republicans and their leaders on both sides of Capitol Hill.

Important, too, is that while Republican candidates press a mantra of no tax increases on job creators, trickle down economic theories and lessened regulation, all these are arguments where factual substantiation is, shall we say, lacking. The absence of credible specifics and a coherent jobs program of their own should undercut the GOP's economic positions.

The Role of Ideology and Polarization.  Republicans are unabashedly taking extreme positions on social issues on Federal and state levels. How this sits with voters in-the-middle - moderates, independents and undecideds - might well be the Democrats greatest source of voter converts in 2012.

How big is "The Middle?"  A Gallup poll last year indicated that 40% of Americans - a startlingly large segment of the American public - considered themselves "independent." In 2008, Obama carried 60% of the moderate vote, per exit polls. Moderates were fully half of Obama's total votes; self-described Democrats were 37%. But as Will Marshall cautions in The Democratic Strategist, most independents/moderates actually lean one way or another, Republicans are gaining in this group and the current ratio seems to be about equal. In numbers, Marshall concludes, only 10 to 15% of the public are "genuinely unaffiliated voters." And more than one analyst has observed that independents tend to be more anti-incumbent, especially in midterm elections.

How polarized are Republicans within their own party? You wouldn't know from Mitt Romney flopping around in his quest for credibility with conservatives. Newt Gingrich is attacking him as a "Massachusetts moderate" and insisting on his own style of raising often odd Big Issues. Rick Santorum, confident of the support of Far Right "Values Voters," is trying to move from social to economic themes. Within the GOP in primary/caucus season, how's that working for them all?

A recent New York Times/CBS News poll shows sharp rifts in the ranks of Republicans. Fully 46% told pollsters they do not support the Tea Party, 42% say they do. As for satisfaction with the party, "Among Tea Party supporters, 7 in 10 say their party is moving in the right direction. Among non-Tea Party Republicans, just 4 in 10 agree. More than a third of non-Tea Party Republicans say the movement has too much influence in the party." The increasingly abrasive Republican primary/caucus season and the profusion of debates fueled these ruptures. Perhaps the party faithful are also reflecting their dissatisfaction with the GOP's Congressional performance or showing their perceptions of President Obama's increasing popularity. These factors may not deter the GOP's strongly faithful adherents, but may influence those only "leaning" conservative.

Whatever intra-party hydraulics are at work, attitudes such as these make even more imperative that the GOP's nominees for president and VP must be of somewhat different politics to able to appeal to middle-of-the-road voters, for every GOP Presidential aspirant as of mid-February 2012 is as Far Right as we have seen in decades. Remember what Barry Goldwater said in accepting his nomination for President in 1964:  "I would remind you that extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." He later acknowledged that he impaired his campaign at the outset with that remark, yet it is quaint by today's standards of vitriolic political rhetoric.

Income, wealth and populist appeals. Much is also being made of the growing inequality in America. Surprisingly, this was not much of a wedge issue in 2008.  According to the Chuck Todd/Sheldon Gawiser analysis in How Barack Obama Won, "In 2008, affluent voters [incomes over $100,000] split their votes evenly - 49% each for Obama and McCain. The biggest gains were among households with incomes over $200,000 where Obama improved [over Kerry's] 2004 performance by 17 points ... even though John McCain regularly harped on the fact that Obama was going to raise taxes on folks making over $200,000."

In 2011, OWS was raising our consciousness about inequality and President Obama made added taxes on the wealthy a very high priority. How might this play in November 2012? Nate Silver says that such populism may erode support for Obama in "wealthy Virginia", Colorado and possibly New Jersey (key states, as we shall see in Part III) but Silver also projects - assuming the economy does not stall - that concentrating on the populism of the 99% could bring voters to Democrats in 6 to 9 swing states. That game, jeopardizing as it may be to more affluent voters, might very well be worth the candle.

Age: The Extremes.  Part I highlighted demographics by age. Suffice it to note here that turnout of youthful and new voters plummeted in 2010 compared to 2008. This may not be surprising for midterm elections in general, but it is a vital group for Democrats to energize this year. This is particularly true on college campuses, which have been targets for voter disenfranchisement by GOP officials and activists.

Seniors (over 65), however, did turn out to vote in 2010, going from 16% of voters in 2008 (when they favored McCain by 53% to 45%) to 21% of the voters in 2010 and went for Republicans by a huge 59% to 38% margin. In 2012, the central concern may well be proposals to alter funding for Social Security and Medicare. Current GOP proposals finesse the impact on the currently elderly for good reason. While Social Security funding is in no immediate jeopardy and classic Republican proposals to privatize SS accounts seem inauspicious given today's economy, Medicare funding is in jeopardy. Here, Obama has flirted with proposals for changes, making the GOP less obviously out on a limb.

What Do Will Women Want?  Now that's a key question!

Women are a majority of the voting public: 54% in 2004, 51% in 2006, 53% in 2008 and 2010. Exit polls showed women voted for Democrats in each of those elections:
-  51-48% in 2004
-  55-43% in 2006,
-  56-43% in 2008 with Sarah Palin on the ticket,
-  but only 49-48% in 2010.

Is 2012 a whole new environment, what with attention to depriving women of choice and control over their own bodies, family planning and birth control funding, preventive health care services under the Affordable Care Act? Far Right legislatures and governors seem hell-bent to limit abortions, even in states like Virginia where they are legal but where medically unnecessary intravaginal probes will now be mandatory for women considering abortions. And the Komen brouhaha over funding Planned Parenthood's breast screening services. And Cong. Issa's oversight hearings with his all-male panel of pontificating clerics decrying contraceptive choice in the name of religious liberty! Extreme positions on these, which seem to be core beliefs of Far Right, are potentially divisive "wedge issues."

Yes, of course, no one, woman or man, should be taken for granted as a single issue voter. Still, campaign strategists consider family health issues as primarily the preserve of women. You can bet that Democratic strategy will be to assure that women remain mindful of these interests for themselves, their daughters and granddaughters ... and of male family members and relatives as well.

As for men, sad to say, we've been sidling over to Republicans. For example, though men went 50-47% for Democrats in 2006, we shifted to 49-48% for McCain/Palin in 2008. In 2010, the shift became startling as males voted 55% Republican to 42% Democrat, due almost entirely to white male voters (60% GOP to 38% Democratic). In particular, the white male working class vote seems to be Democrats greatest vulnerability, exploitable by Republicans particularly targeting battleground states where mediocre economic conditions stubbornly persist.

Other Broad Gauge Demographics. The turnout and expressed preferences of other demographic cohorts are important, too. As "Came in On Saturdays" blogged on February 9th: "In 2010 [compared to 2008], at least 45 million were ballot box no-shows. According to exit polling, the bulk of these were liberals, young, blacks, and Latinos, key blocs in the Democratic base. Had just 25 million of these non-voters shown up, House Democratic losses would have been in the 24-30 range, the normal mid-term amount. Nancy Pelosi, one of the most effective Speakers of all time, would still have had the gavel during the present 112th Congress ..."

Yes, of course, turnout historically drops dramatically in midterm elections. Across the board in 2010, turnout hit Democrats hard. Republicans, energized by dissatisfaction with Obama and succored with money from behind-the-curtain interests, got out the vote.

What's ahead for turnout in 2012?

Voter Suppression. States dominated by Republican legislatures and governors are sparing no efforts to impose barriers to groups that traditionally favor Democrats: new voters, college students, seniors, Hispanics, African-Americans and the poor. Prevalent but below the radar are efforts by local and county GOP activists to lobby local election officials to construe every jot and tittle of complex, arcane registration and balloting laws as narrowly as possible and to make a partisan fuss if they don't.

A recent New York Times analysis found that "voter rolls are rife with inaccuracies" due largely to outdated paper systems, unreported changes of addresses in a mobile society and mechanical problems of verification as well as substantial costs. As many as 51 million potential voters - 22% of the voting age population of America - are not registered.

Coming soon, Part III, where we speculate about the swing/breakthrough states in 2012. And nod to the electoral college.

Originally posted to TRPChicago on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tipped and Rec'd. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    journeyman, oceanview
  •  but but but (0+ / 0-)

    isn't it true that "if every democrat voted every time, and for the democrat", we wouldn't need all those "uncommitted" voters?

    let's gotv among the dems, and let the rest of them make pie

    •  That should be so, and/but ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pam from Calif, oceanview, Jerry J

      And although the solidly Democratic faithful are fewer than the 37% of voters in '08 who told exit pollsters they voted Democrat, let's say they makeup 32% of voters in 2012,

      and those in-the-middle Independents/Moderates who "lean Democrat" - they poll at about 45% of the 40% of "independent" voters - would constitute about 18% of the voting public ...

      that combination would produce 50% of the popular vote.

      But what voters tell exit pollers - with relatives or neighbors nearby - might not reflect their action moments before in the voting booth. Moreover, percentages on top of percentages get iffy and lightning can strike. And, of course, where voters are makes a big difference. A huge win for the GOP in a sparse state doesn't carry as much heft as a gratifying win in a higher-populated swing state with more electoral votes.

      For battleground states and the effects of the electoral college, Part III is coming soon.

      Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

      by TRPChicago on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:23:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you have any feel for turnout in Illinois (0+ / 0-)

        this year? Especially Chicago?

        Pat Quinn's approval numbers are abysmal, and seem to be getting worse.  Will the animosity for the Democratic Party in Illinois in general translate to poor turnout in the Presidential election, I wonder?  And to what extent will it bring out Republican voters?

        I know it is far-fetched, but could Obama be in trouble here in Illinois?

        •  Illinois in jeopardy? Unthinkable. Can't be! (0+ / 0-)

          Quinn, hardly an exiting person or governor, has been handed a bad plate at every turn. When Pat Quinn was Lt. Guv, he and Blago reportedly rarely talked to each other. And in IL, as you know, the Lt. Governor is an empty-hat position, much as the governor of Texas was for years and years. (I'm talking pre-Shrub. A personally powerful Lt. Governor ran Texas and its politics. Here in IL, the position was legislated intentionally to be weak.)

          Quinn squeaked by a popular downstate Republican when he ran in 2010. "Squeaked" = a margin of 32,000 votes out of almost 3.6 million. The Almanac reports Quinn carried four Illinois counties, his opponent got the other 98! (Yes, one of Quinn's wins was Cook County, which has more than a third of the state's voters.)

          Then Quinn steps up to the big job and inherits an avalanche of growing debt, built partly on the shoulders of underfunded public employee pensions. (Which, in fiefdoms like the former Cook County Board, are scandal-ridden with manipulated generosity to family and friends.) So Quinn does the responsible thing and increases income tax rates.

          That is an atmosphere where even your friends don't like you! But then, I think we, the Illinois electorate, are schizoid with contradictions about who we vote for and why.

          Our favorite son leads the ticket in 2012. He'll show us this May that he leads the world when Chicago hosts the G-8 and he'll have to visit his house and his campaign office here often. The only pity is that South Side Barry is not an outspoken Cubs fan. With Obama's charisma rooting for them, they might just have a winning season. But then, like so much else about our Cubbies, that's a lot to ask!

          Kidding aside, we do have to watch our primary on March 20. A birther activist challenged Obama's nominating petitions. Some Republicans might even switch registration to masquerade as Democrats. On the other hand, the primary comes early enough that the GOP still might not have locked up a nominee (so to speak) and Newt Gingrich will be romancing around here. We're ready for him. Callista is another matter.

          Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

          by TRPChicago on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:11:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  That's half of it. (6+ / 0-)

    The vote suppression before and during the election can also be decisive. In 2000, the FLA central voter file was purged of over 57K names that matched or were similar to those of ex-felons. Of the 4800+people who bothered to appeal, 2400+ were judged not to be ex-felons. This alone was over 4 times the margin of vitory. And there were several other suppression tactics employed. And then there was the vote counting, the other way to win/lose elections. Both FL 2000 and OH 2004 being decisive examples.

    Unfortunately, Democrats do not take this half of the contest as seriously as Republicans, who obviously take their efforts as an integral part of the election cycle, beginning with voting fraud campaigns and voting machine acquisitions through swiftboating and other campaign Ratf*cking techniques to voter suppression and then vote counting.

    Because the margins are often small, it's not hard to lose when you win.

    This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

    by Words In Action on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:50:51 AM PST

    •  It's kind of like approaching (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1

      financial security by just focusing on making money but ignoring how you spend it. (I say this from personal experience.)

      This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

      by Words In Action on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:53:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Registration and eligibility to vote is key in '12 (6+ / 0-)

      Florida is a poster state for voter suppression. I've done volunteer voter protection work (not in Florida) in 2008, 2010 and in local elections. I'll do a lot more a lot earlier in 2012.

      It is despotic and fundamentally wrong to limit the right to cast a ballot by any American citizen of voting age based on the way they voted or are expected to vote. It is completely unreasonable, under the cover of the most minuscule evidence of voter fraud, to limit the ways people who want to vote can become eligible and make it costly to qualify.

      Any state that enacts voter suppression legislation should also be required to enact means to register that are simple, easy and costless to the applicant, publicize them well and make them available right up until election day.

      It is time for a nationwide campaign to reform voter registration procedures on a bipartisan basis.

      Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

      by TRPChicago on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:18:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You got a tip and rec from me just for your lovely (5+ / 0-)

    little intro. Do you think you could convince the front pagers to read it?

    In this post, I resolve not to reduce Republicans to being mean-spirited or hostages to theologians or even corporate tools. And I am definitely not going to characterize those who might vote Republican as "low information voters", so very tempting as that is. For two reasons ...

    Strategically, we have an uphill job of advocacy ahead. People cannot be bludgeoned into or out of voting, much less into voting our way. If we insult even the least of them, we may well be judged adversely who some who might otherwise be convinced to vote for Democrats - whether they be Republicans with second thoughts, or middle-of-the-roaders, or even Blue Dog-style Democrats leaning toward conservatism. It'll be too close an election to lose a soul who might come with us.

    The other less selfish reason is that every one of us wants to be treated as thoughtful and reasonable, not stupid or unwise. Those we respect as individuals, maybe we can engage them in conversations that will make us all better people. For much as it hurts to admit it, we, too, can be cock-sure, overbearing, thoughtless and unwise in our own way.

  •  Learned that lesson in OH. Don't know why (0+ / 0-)

    people didn't vote or voted 4 evil Prince John Kasuck. He lied; they  voted; they got screwed by SB 5. Hope "they" learned their lesson. Not likely.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 01:46:23 PM PST

  •  I'm assuming that we can at least (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shmuelman, BradyB, ozsea1, Jerry J, aliasalias

    rest assured Obama won't be publicly praising / defending Wall Street's "Savvy Businessmen" as he tries to portray himself as Defender of the 99% vs. the evil Rethuglicans who only want to advance the 1%?

    I'd also recommend Obama stay away from even quiet industry friendly actions - like say appointing a Monsanto Lobbyist to a specially created spot at the FDA?

    That stuff has a way of getting out.

    You know why the country says it's shifting right?

    It isn't given an alternative.

    You know why 2008 was such an amazing election - with such support that Obama, an African American, was elected President in this racist country of ours?

    People thought they saw an alternative.

    You know why the GOP continues to make inroads and the rightward tilt of our country continues?

    Bernanke, Summers, Geithner, Cat Food Commission, Alan Simpson, Meeting in Secret with Pharma, no-strings Bailouts of Banksters, Publicly Praising Wall Street Predators, Calling for More Free Trade Job Outsourcing, Indefinite Detention, Bradley Manning....

    The above.  That's why.

    Because when it comes to the "real thing", people will choose the one with the (R) after their name every damn time.

    Oddly enough, the excuses just don't seem to motivate as much as concrete results would.  See: FDR.

    It isn't that Obama hasn't Changed anything; It's that his actions advance the 1%'s interests.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 04:45:18 PM PST

    •  You left out the War on Drugs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias

      Obama has reversed his stance on allowing states to make their own laws regarding marijuana, and instead is now aggressively pursuing state-legal operations.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:55:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  good point... and spot on you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1

        are.

        Candidate Obama talked about "respecting States' rights" to legalize.  The DEA's actions against medical marijuana would appall Candidate Obama.

        Perhaps as the election draws near we might see Candidate Obama make an appearance;  Of course, right after election day, Candidate Obama has a tendency to make himself very scarce.

        I'm guessing we might even see a resurrection of Hope & Change You Can Believe In.  Always a crowd pleaser.

        It isn't that Obama hasn't Changed anything; It's that his actions advance the 1%'s interests.

        by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 08:31:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "People thought they saw an alternative." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnathan Ivan

      Rec'd for that statement alone.

      Yes, there are a lot of folks, especially in the middle, who feel somewhat hoodwinked.

      as he tries to portray himself as Defender of the 99% vs. the evil Rethuglicans who only want to advance the 1%?
      That rings kind of hollow with many voters who have watched Obama defend them for three years and give them a pass for the crisis.  A lot of his arguments will fall on deaf ears this year - especially his rhetoric against the 1%, seeing how he had a Dem Senate, a Dem House and did not even pass a budget much less tax reform in those first two years.
  •  The President has my votes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Says Who

    I will ensure that my "Ward" of 7 or 8 make it to the polls.

    No more - no less. It doesn't matter in California anyway.

    If liberals really "hated America" - We'd vote Republican

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 06:13:42 PM PST

  •  Throw those insults at some other target (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias

    This isn't the place to waste your time and effort.

    Smart Democratic strategists know that insulting your base is a great way to divide and demoralize them.  It's political cannibalism to attempt to turn Dem voters against each other by forcing them to profess their undying loyalty to Obama is greater than the next person's.

    Perhaps you should take that flawed, tired and toxic communications strategy back to the shop and retool it into something that will actually, you know, work.

    Here's an idea.  Why don't you treat whatever Dem skeptics that are out there like you treat the bankers, media moguls and corporate bigwig donors - treat them with respect and address their concerns in an honest manner.  Offer to govern in a way that conforms to their principles.

    As for the majority here who worked hard, donated and did endless phone banking and canvassing in 2010, just thank us, even if we ask for more than Obama has delivered thus far.

    We don't have a real Dem primary this time around, so save the vitriol for the GOP.  Stop acting like petulant amateurs and start thinking like smart Dem strategists.

  •  It's the 10% stupid! (0+ / 0-)

    Just playing off your title.  But look at your numbers with regard to women.  There really is only about 5% of the women who are swing voters.

    We are such a divided country, that there are only about 10% of the voters that can be persuaded.  And of those, about 60% can be persuaded to vote either way, and about 40% will decide whether to vote or not to vote, and most of those lean Dem.

    If you look at almost any poll, if they poll the general public, the Dems win almost everything, if you poll registered voters, the Dems have a slight lead, if you poll likely voters, it's an uphill fight.

    The Dems have to target all 10%, while the Repugs only need to target the 6% that are persuadable.  Whoever ID's and targets these people with an emotional message, (reason won't work with these people), will win the election.
     

  •  So how do we get the GOP to put Sarah Palin on the (0+ / 0-)

    ticket?

    Slow thinkers - keep right

    by Dave the Wave on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:54:33 AM PST

    •  Anyone but Mitt, Newt, John or Ron, huh? (0+ / 0-)

      With the GOP's mess of so-called "debates," primaries and caucuses and the counting missteps and the feeding frenzies the media presents to any rising aspirant, who'd want the job?

      As for being a VP running mate, who'd want that either? 2012 might go GOP and if it does, will it go so narrowly or so Far, Far Right that some other Republican would have a shot at a primary fight in 2016?

      Against those considerations, weigh starting in 2013 to run for 2016 after, say, eight years of President Obama. If you're Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, Susana Martinez (who got Sarah's endorsement for governor of New Mexico) or Marco Rubio - to name a few - would you really want to risk a Sarah-like loss to be VP running mate for someone who badly needs his image buffed and buttressed?

      Kidding aside, if you are ambitious - find me an elected official at the Federal level who is not! - and possess potential, you're not gonna want to depreciate your currency.

      Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

      by TRPChicago on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:29:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent work (0+ / 0-)

    2 issues most on my mind:  

    1. how do we reach those swing voters?

    2. the price of oil will determine the state of the economy during the summer which will be the state in people's mind at election time.  I hope Obama is going to release from the strategic reserve as he did last summer to stop the speculators.

    •  I don't know how to deal with price-of-oil ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... politicking.

      You assume increasing oil prices will drive (!) economic woes and Obama might have to step in. And of course, the largely GOP-driven to-do about the Tar Sands pipeline and its alleged 20,000 jobs will sound sweet harmony to Republicans. But even in the face of that, could some other economic trends stay positive or, better said, look like they're staying positive even if only gradually?

      I, for one, believe that gas to the pump is an industry-administered market. Big oil suppliers to retailers can point out that costs are pretty much the same from refining to pipeline carry to distribution to stations, to the stations themselves (n.b., price wars once being common), to geography and state and local tax burdens, etc. All these factors, they urge, promote price similarity identicality.

      Amazing, isn't it, how the vigorous interplay of prices in a free market that seems like it should be hotly competitive brings us identical prices?

      I'm sure a Republican can explain it to me.

      Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

      by TRPChicago on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:34:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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